The Toronto Blue Jays struck out with their plan to play home games at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.
The state of Pennsylvania rejected the proposal Wednesday due to health and safety concerns.
“In recent weeks, we have seen a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in southwestern Pennsylvania,” Dr. Rachel Levine, the state’s secretary of health, said in a statement. “To add travelers to this region for any reason, including for professional sports events, risks residents, visitors and members of both teams. We know that this virus does not discriminate, and can even make professional athletes very sick. We are committed to protecting the health and well-being of all Pennsylvanians.”
The Blue Jays are looking for a place to call home during the abbreviated 60-game season because the Canadian federal government said they can’t play at Toronto’s Rogers Centre due to the high risks of traveling back and forth across the U.S. border.
The Pirates were willing to accommodate them, but they were overruled by state officials.
“I am extremely proud of our staff’s effort, together with the support of Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, to very quickly present Major League Baseball and the Toronto Blue Jays with an option to host their home games here at PNC Park during the 2020 season,” Pirates president Travis Williams said in a statement.
“This is an unprecedented situation and, therefore, we understand and support Governor Tom Wolf’s decision. We are in agreement that the safety and health of those in our region must remain paramount. We are confident that the great people within the Blue Jays organization, working with Major League Baseball, will secure another option very soon.”
Toronto’s season opener is Friday against the host Tampa Bay Rays. The Blue Jays’ first home game is scheduled for July 29 against the Washington Nationals, giving them a week to make other arrangements.
Toronto general manager Ross Atkins said earlier this week that he was in talks with multiple teams about sharing their stadiums, but declined to name them.
Other options include the ballpark of the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, N.Y., or the Blue Jays’ spring-training facility in Dunedin, Fla.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)